Articles Posted in U.S. Supreme Court

A significant note from the Duke Law Journal by Joanna Huang with the above title has been posted today September 29 on the Sentencing Law and Policy blog According to Ms. Huang, “…in 1987 the United States political and social systems lost trust in the judiciary and severely limited its authority by enacting the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.” She goes on to observe that in 2005 trust was restored in the judiciary when United States v. Booker made the Sentencing Guidelines advisory; and that, although Booker provides for increase in judicial discretion, judges are still unable to correct sentences imposed during the intervening eighteen years because Booker does not apply retroactively.

For more, we recommend that you go to the Sentencing Law and Policy blog

NOTE:

Supreme Court Case Summaries: Professor Rory Little’s Perspective
A Service from the ABA Criminal Justice Section, http://www.abanet.org/crimjust

These summaries are written by Professor Rory K. Little (littler@uchastings.edu), U.C. Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, who has long presented “Annual Review of the Supreme Court’s Term” program at the ABA’s Annual Meetings. They represent his personal, unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

The CJS hopes these summaries will be helpful to members, because they are different from the average news or blog account, in at least three ways: first, a detailed account of the rationale of ALL the opinions issued in a case, including nuances found in separate concurring and dissenting opinions; second, an account of the decision that is essentially “neutral” — that is, not really a “perspective” in the sense of the author’s personal opinions, but rather a straightforward account that can be relied upon by lawyers of all stripes; and then third, a bit of “inside baseball” analysis of some of the twists or nuances that are not apparent in the opinion.

U.S.. Supreme Court Summaries – Criminal Cases June 24, 2010
Mail/Wire Fraud and “Honest Services” – Three cases:

Skilling v. United States, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1394.pdf

Black v. United States, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-876.pdf

Weyhrauch v. United Sates, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-876.pdf

On June 24, the Court issued its long-awaited opinions in the trio of “honest services” mail and wire fraud cases. The Court (6-3) upheld the “honest services” statute, but limited it to schemes of “bribery and kickbacks.” Interestingly, in the lead case of former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, the Court’s major effort was spent not on mail fraud, but on the pretrial-publicity juror bias claims that Skilling presented, and the Skilling opinion will stand more as a major decision in that constitutional area than on the statutory definition (which is changeable by Congress) of mail fraud. Each holding (due process and mail fraud) was a 6-3 vote, but different Justices were the dissenters on each. And, perhaps significantly or perhaps not, this is the first decision in which the two women on the Court disagreed in written opinions, Justice Ginsburg writing the majority and Justice Sotomayor dissenting on the due process-fair trial ruling.

The various Skilling opinions consume 114 pages. The Court also eclipses what probably was not a record of three days ago (the six-page syllabus in Humanitarian Law Prroject) with a nine-page syllabus here. Yes, there are a lot of pages here, but nine pages for an allegedly accessible “summary” of the opinion is, for the Court, pretty silly.

In Black, the Court applied its Skilling mail fraud ruling to hold that Conrad Black’s jury instructions were erroneous, and remanded for a harmless-error analysis (as it did in Skilling). The Court also reversed the Seventh Circuit’s ruling that Black had forfeited his jury instruction challenge by opposing the government’s more-precise special verdict form, and provides an important discourse on courts of appeal imposing sanctions that the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure don’t specify, without notice.

Finally, in one sentence the Court simply vacated the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Weyhrauch and remanded for further proceedings in light of Skilling.

Summaries of the various Justices’ opinions follow.
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NOTE: This posting includes Professor Little’s perspective on City of Ontario v. Quon, the cfase whch includes interesting discussion about whether public employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding text messages went on government owned equipment during working hours.

A Service from the ABA Criminal Justice Section, http://www.abanet.org/crimjust

This summary has been created by Professor Rory K. Little (littler@uchastings.edu), U.C. Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, who has long presented “Annual Review of the Supreme Court’s Term” program at the ABA’s Annual Meetings. It represents his personal, unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

United States v. Marcus, No. 08-1341, 130 S.Ct. ___(may 24, 2010).

A Service from the ABA Criminal Justice Section, http://www.abanet.org/crimjust

This summary has been created by Professor Rory K. Little (littler@uchastings.edu), U.C. Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, who has long presented “Annual Review of the Supreme Court’s Term” program at the ABA’s Annual Meetings. It represents his personal, unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

To view the full-text of cases you must sign in to FindLaw.com. All summaries are produced by Findlaw
May 24, 2010.

ANTITRUST & TRADE REGULATION, COMMERCIAL LAW, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, SPORTS LAW, TRADEMARK American Needle, Inc. v. Nat’l Football League, No. 08–661 In an antitrust action challenging the NFL’s grant to Reebok of an exclusive license to create apparel incorporating the NFL’s intellectual property, the Seventh Circuit’s affirmance of summary judgment for defendants is reversed where the alleged conduct related to licensing of intellectual property constituted concerted action that was not categorically beyond the coverage of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. ..

ATTORNEY’S FEES, CIVIL PROCEDURE, ERISA, HEALTH LAW, INSURANCE LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW Hardt v. Reliance Std. Life Ins. Co., No. 09–448 In an action alleging that defendant violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by wrongfully denying her benefits claim, the Fourth Circuit’s order vacating the district court’s award of attorney’s fees to plaintiff is reversed where: 1) a fee claimant need not be a “prevailing party” to be eligible for an attorney’s fees award under 29 U.S.C. section 1132(g)(1); and 2) a court may award fees and costs under section 1132(g)(1), as long as the fee claimant has achieved some degree of success on the merits.
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